What do you sense God saying to you? God is speaking, after all. He is a God who “speaks”, continuously revealing Himself to us. Jesus is called the Word because it is the very nature of God to speak, to want to reveal Himself to us. So, what are you sensing that God might be saying to you, through Scripture, a recent sermon, words of a friend, a thought that comes to you, or, perhaps, seeing a stunning sunrise. After all, Jesus does caution, “Let anyone with ears, listen” (Matthew 11:15).
There is a stirring scripture in which God speaks to a young teenage girl named Mary, living in the tiny village of Nazareth of Galilee. Perhaps Mary is gathering wood for a fire, or kneading bread; we do not know, but God speaks to her through His messenger angel Gabriel. Mary becomes a wonderful example of first listening and then responding to God.
You and I know the story well, but Mary is hearing Gabriel’s message for the first time. What she hears does not make any sense. She does not understand. She has not had intimate relations with a man. How is it possible that God would do such wondrous things through a poor and lowly virgin girl? She is, after all, a teenager who will be pregnant and unmarried. It will likely mean the end of any marriage to her beloved Joseph and shame for her father, rather than a dowry. She might even be stoned to death according to the Law of Moses.
Mary could have easily told God, “This is not a good time for me! Could you come back in a year?” Or, “This really interferes with my plans; how about someone else?” But Mary simply says: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). The word “servant” is a weak translation of the Greek doule, coming from the Greek deo, meaning “to bind”. A doule is a female slave bound in obedience to her master. That’s the word Mary uses to express her obedience to what she hears God saying.
At that moment Mary was faced with a momentous decision: “Will I listen and obey and make way for the Son of God in me?” Or, “Will I avoid the pain?” Should I take an easier way?” But notice that Mary does not argue with God, or offer another option. Instead, she responds, “Here am I!” Rather than praying the world’s most frequent prayer, “Thy will be changed”, Mary says, “Thy will be done”.
Notice what happens as Mary says “Yes!” to what she hears God saying! At that moment the Holy Spirit comes upon Mary and goes to work. The Holy Spirit begins forming in her the very Son of God. And the moment we say “Yes!” to what we hear God saying, the Spirit of God goes to work in us, forming in us the life and character of Jesus Christ.
We began today asking if you sense God saying something to you. God might be saying something you do not understand, or will not be easy. He might be saying it to you at what seems the wrong time. But if you will say “Yes!” to God He will go to work, forming the life of Jesus within you.
So let us say with eager hearts the response to God that Mary gives: “Here am I…”.
Name and reflect on the thoughts and feelings today’s reading stirs in you. Take a few moments to talk with God about them.